Wrexham was the first council to declare its full local election results, in the early hours on Friday morning. Labour gained 11 seats to confirm its place as the strongest party, but remained comfortably short of a majority in one of its two North Wales target councils.
Four years on from the a series of catastrophic defeats in heartland areas, while the party held power in Westminster, Labour's anticipated recovery looks to be in progress across South Wales, where Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Caerphilly are the key battlegrounds. 16 of the 17 seats declared in Newport have gone to Labour candidates, with gains made from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Labour has already won 21 seats, Plaid 3 and the Independents 2 on in Caerphilly. The Liberal Democrat leader of Swansea Council, Chris Holley, has admitted he fears a bad night locally, as a reaction to UK-wide unpopularity.
There has been a pattern of council leaders losing their seats early in the night. Plaid Cymru's Allan Pritchard has done so in Caerphilly, Independent Jeff Edwards similarly in Merthyr Tydfil. Keith Evans, who led a coalition group running Ceredigion Council, lost his seat, while the Liberal Democrat leader of Wrexham Council, Ron Davies, was also beaten.
Another Ron Davies, the former Welsh Secretary running for Plaid Cymru in Caerphilly, has already conceded defeat in Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen, with the official result still due in.